Grant Grand Abdoulaye's final wish
Abdoulaye ‘Jimmy’ Sylla lived his whole life in service of making people happy. As a father/grandfather/brother, a husband, a friend, a leader, performer, cultural ambassador and teacher, he lived always putting others first, from a deep commitment to selflessly spreading joy and connection.
From this bold stand, class after class, show after show, at every gathering, he passionately proselytized:
“Peace! Love! Respect! And Harmony! For EVERYone! Unity, Together, ONE!”
Over and over again he made these things real for so many of us.
Hundreds, likely thousands of us are beside ourselves with shock and the onset of grief, and it sinks in that this incredibly talented and profoundly generous man has passed on.
While in this life it was difficult to know what Abdoulaye personally wanted, as his attention was always on others, he did make it very clear that when the day came, he wanted to be buried in his beloved home country of Guinea, with his family present.
With all of our hearts we are committed to making this happen. And we need your help. The bill will be steep, but together we can foot it.
We are boldly requesting gifts of $100 or more. Of course gifts of any size are welcome, but fulfilling this one request is really going to take all of us giving generously.
The preliminary estimates of costs to fulfill this final wish are as follows:
· Abdoulaye’s body preparation and transport to Seattle: $5,000
· Ceremony in Seattle: $2,000
· Abdoulaye’s transport to Guinea: $8,000
· Family transport to Guinea: $8,000
· Ceremony and burial in Guinea: $2,000
As you can imagine, time is of the essence. Please contribute generously and soon.
To make gift electronically, you can complete that here on this GoFundMe site.
If you prefer, you can send a check made out to “Laurie Sylla” to:
7636 South 116th Street
Seattle, WA 98178
Abdoulaye Sylla teaching at Camp Fareta
Thank you. Thank you for making this wish a reality. May our beloved teacher, friend and inspiration rest in peace.
Sarah Lee & Mamady
Jessica & Manimou
Komala & Ousmane
Afua & Boka
Close to 400 people participated in the "40th day" ceremonial sacrifice that was sponsored by the Guinean artists in the US and organized by members of Ballets Africains.
On Yom Kippur (a Jewish day of prayer and fasting- like a mini-Ramadan) Fatim, two of his uncles, and I visited Abdoulaye's final resting place and recited prayers of mourning. He is buried in a forested cemetery, at the feet of his dad, who he cherished. Also visited the graves of his two brothers who died far too young.
All was not sad. I drummed and played cards with my brothers-in-law, cousins, and nephew, and renewed and strengthened friendships and sisterhoods. I was able to make some things possible for them that could not have happened had I not been there.
A million thanks to the hundreds of you who made all of our journeys possible through your generosity, your love and your prayers. We truly felt held by all of you.
Much love and gratitude to everyone.
I have also scheduled a memorial celebration in the Seattle area in late October. More details on our website at www.danceanddrum.com. I hope many of you will be able to join us.
Thank you, thank you, thank you again for making this possible.
As Abdoulaye and many of of my African friends like to say, God will pay you for what you have done.
For those of you unfamiliar with African Muslim tradition, when someone dies, the day of the funeral, a week later, and then 40 days later, and again a year later, there is a "sacrifice" where an animal is prayed over and slaughtered, and then cooked up to feed the mourners and well-wishers, with additional portions of food given away for people to take home. Excerpts of the Koran are read, and people pray for the soul of the departed.
The 40 day sacrifice is when the widow officially comes out of mourning, and is able to change out of her widow garb and leave the home. Traditionally, she sits at home during the entire 40 days. While my life in America precludes staying in the house for 40 days, I will be traveling to Guinea, along with daughter Fatim, and 11 month old grand daughter, Lofa Laurie. There will again be praying, feasting, and Koran reading.
There are no words to express the gratitude we feel for all of your support, and all you are making possible. Abdoulaye would be overjoyed by everyone coming together and supporting his family- both in the US and in Guinea. It is not only the money; it is the expression of your love for him, the way you all experienced him and were touched by him; the way you are coming together to remember him; the way you love us.
Abdoulaye is physically gone, yet he is still bringing people together and helping his family. He continues to live in all of us. We can continue to honor him by living his message of, "Peace, love, respect, and harmony for everybody- Unity. Together. One."